America’s wealth gap is bigger than ever

America’s wealth gap is getting even bigger. While wages for low- and middle-income workers have begun to recover, wealth inequality has still climbed to new heights, according to a new survey from the Federal Reserve which conducts a checkup of the nation’s finances every three years. In 2016, median household net worth improved across all income brackets — up 16% overall since 2013 — but those on the higher end of the income spectrum did the best…

Dudley to retire early as Fed overhaul gains steam

NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of the Federal Reserve’s most influential policymakers, New York Fed President William Dudley, is preparing to retire earlier than planned, further setting the stage for a fresh slate of U.S. central bankers next year. According to two sources familiar with the plans, directors at the New York Fed have struck a committee to seek a successor to Dudley, who would leave some time next year, before his term expires in January 2019…

Yellen’s bequest: A healthy economy but questions over future policy for Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell will inherit healthy economic growth and a consensus on monetary policy at least for the next few months, if he is confirmed by the Senate as the next Fed chair when Janet Yellen’s term expires in February. But he will also inherit Yellen’s unfinished business: unresolved questions in economics about why inflation is so low, the role of financial market conditions in setting monetary policy and the way to fight recessions if interest rates stay low…

Trump says to push Japan for more ‘reciprocal’ trade, in a friendly way

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that Japan would shoot North Korean missiles “out of the sky” if it bought the U.S. weaponry needed for doing so, suggesting Tokyo take a stance it has avoided until now. North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. It has fired two missiles over Japan…

Ex-Catalan leader granted freedom to campaign for independence

BRUSSELS/MADRID (Reuters) – Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont was spared custody on Monday, when a Brussels court ruled he could remain at liberty in Belgium until it had heard Spanish charges against him of rebellion. The court’s decision means Puigdemont, who left Spain last month after Madrid fired his secessionist government and dissolved the Catalan parliament, is free to campaign for independence in an election in the region on Dec 21…

BOE raises rates now when the risks feel more immediate

You wait 10 years for a rise in interest rates and, when the moment finally arrives, the timing feels completely arbitrary. An easier moment to make the move would have been the start of this year. The August 2016 cut from 0.5% to 0.25% was presented as an emergency measure to prevent a post-referendum recession. When the downturn didn’t arrive – GDP growth in the final quarter of 2016 was a strong 0.7% – it would have been logical to revert to 0.5%…

Trump to tell Asia: World is ‘running out of time’ on North Korea’s nuclear crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will tell leaders on a five-nation Asia tour the world is “running out of time” on North Korea’s nuclear crisis and that he will give his strategy to isolate Pyongyang a few months before making adjustments, a top aide said on Thursday. Trump leaves on Friday for Hawaii, the first stop en route to Asia where he will visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. It will be the longest Asia tour by an American president in more than 25 years…

Trump nominates Powell as Fed’s new chair. Now what’s next?

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Jerome “Jay” Powell as the next Federal Reserve chair is predicted to bring little change to the central bank’s incremental rate increases and unwinding of recession-era quantitative easing, although the multimillionaire and former investment banker brings a Wall Street-friendly skepticism of regulation. Powell, 64, has served on the Fed’s Board of Governors since 2012, after a career spanning law, private equity and the Treasury Department under George H.W. Bush. Although a Republican, he has a history of dovish monetary policy-making decisions in the vein of current Fed chair Janet Yellen…

Central bankers on the move, but where’s the inflation?

LONDON (Reuters) – Now the Bank of England has raised interest rates for the first time in a decade, it is beyond doubt major central banks in industrialized economies are eager to shift away from ultra-easy policy. But the fact the decision was so contested both in and outside the BoE perhaps reveals more concern about the lack of inflation pressure than about Britain’s clear difficulty in trying to leave the European Union without a concrete plan…

U.S. unemployment rate drops to 4.1% but wages flat

The US economy bounced back in October from a dramatic slump in hiring in the wake of two devastating hurricanes, the labor department announced on Friday. The US added 261,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.1%. In September the US shed 30,000 jobs – the first loss in seven years – as hurricanes Harvey and Irma held back hiring in Texas and Florida. The leisure and hospitality industry was hardest hit by the hurricanes in September, shedding 111,000 jobs…

U.S. economy adds 261,000 jobs in September, unemployment ticks down to 4.1%

The economy gained 261,000 jobs in October, adding back thousands of positions after hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the labor force in September, according to the Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report. It’s not the headline number the market was expecting — some had pegged Friday’s figure at 400,000 — but it nonetheless shows steady growth. The economy has added an average of 139,000 jobs in the last two months, continuing its record-breaking streak of 85 months of gains…

The Latest: Central bank warns of cost of Catalan crisis – Washington Post

A Spanish judge has ordered nine ex-members of the government in Catalonia jailed while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement. Investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela issued the ruling on Thursday at the request of prosecutors who are pursuing a criminal case stemming from the declaration of secession the Parliament of Catalonia made Friday…

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